Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar
Laddu Pinto was very sad. This morning he had the worst-ever discussion with his boss. It was a new job, and Laddu could not establish a harmonious relationship with his seniors. Obviously, he was at the receiving end of all the heat.
Frustrated Laddu met me on a Monday evening for some guidance. I listened to his woes patiently. All that I could understand was, “Laddu wanted revenge”. Some words spoken by his boss (in anger) did pierce his heart. The shattered ego wanted him to either resign immediately or do something to avenge himself. Since the job market was not very optimistic and Laddu had a family to feed plus a few loans to repay, he was not in a position to quit the job.
I assured Laddu that the situation would become better. I further asked him to visit me after two days when we would design the future steps for him. On the day when Laddu was scheduled to make the next visit, I made someone call him from my office with a message which said, “Can you please check for how many days your boss was absent from work in the previous three months? You can get this information in the attendance roster. Please come to me with these details if possible.”
He took another 2-3 days to extract the information from his office. Once he was ready with the information, I informed him that I was on leave for a day and that he should come to me on the forthcoming Monday.
When I met him for the second time, the overall situation changed. Even though nothing had changed at the workplace, Laddu was less anxious now. No, the boss had not improved his communication either.
I asked Laddu about his resignation plan. He refused.
I asked him about his revenge plan. He said, ‘that may not be of any help.
I asked Laddu, “What support do you need from me?”
Laddu: In the last few days, I did think about the situation patiently. I realised that my boss was a poor communicator, but he had a few valid points to tell on some issues. On retrospection, I found that I need to improve on a few aspects. My boss is not totally incorrect; however, I still hate him because of his improper behaviour.
Friends, Laddu’s journey from one agitated Monday to the following Monday has much to tell.
With deliberate intent, I had refused to offer any instant solution to Laddu when he first met me. I knew that he was in a heightened state of anxiety and any idea would not be amicable for him at that moment. Hence, I did buy seven days from him. Subsequently, we had elaborate discussions on various aspects of the turmoil at the workplace. We did arrive at some very practical and workable action points.
It is almost three months now, and Laddu is relatively comfortable at his workplace. The boss is still the same, but now Laddu knows better ways to proactively manage the fellow!
The learning from the above instance is to be patient and never jump to extreme conclusions when you are in emotional distress. The delay you may intentionally to react is called the “Response Rest Period”. You make a sane judgement when you do not react to provocative situations. When times are tough, the wise decide to relax first and respond next.
Laddu’s mental situation was highly strained; hence I had intentionally delayed the discussions by seven days. However, you may only sometimes be required to wait for these many days. It is the level of stress and agitation, which would define the Response Rest Period. Sometimes even a one-day delay in response can be purposeful. Sometimes, even a seven-minute delay can save you from disgrace. Think about it.
Do contact me in case you have any career queries.
Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of myaglakadam.com. He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India